Weiser murder case stalled due to DNA testing backlog

Haruka Weiser was killed on the UT Austin campus in April

Meechaiel Criner and Haruka Weiser
Meechaiel Criner and Haruka Weiser

AUSTIN (KXAN) — During a scheduled hearing for Meechaiel Criner, the 18-year-old accused of killing University of Texas at Austin student Haruka Weiser, the state revealed to defense attorneys they are still waiting for DNA to be processed in the case.

Complete coverage of Haruka Weiser’s murder

“There was genetic material found on the body of Ms. Weiser that was not hers. That is why we are all anxiously awaiting the DNA results. It is crucial to this case for the state and defense,” said Criner’s attorney Arien Payan at court on Friday.

Back in September, Payan says prosecutors told them the DNA was not ready, and now two months later, it’s still not back.

“They have not been able to finish the testing is all they keep saying. I know there’s been a lot of problems and issues with DNA right now because of the APD lab shutting down and the pressure that puts on DPS to finish things and DPS is working on it,” said Payan.

Because the Austin Police Department Forensics lab is currently shut down, the Texas Department of Public Safety is helping process about 20 DNA samples from APD every month.

“They’ve spoken with the DPS technician there and the scientists there are trying to get them to finish up,” explained Payan.

KXAN is a KOIN 6 News affiliate.